Recipe: Café Isan's classic som tum

Make this papaya salad from Dubai’s best Thai restaurant

Recipe: Café Isan’s classic som tum

Ready to spice up your life? Dubai’s Best Thai restaurant 2020, Café Isan, brings the heat with this healthy, fiery papaya salad that is quick and easy to make at home. Trying out, or living the vegan life? Ditch the fish sauce and you’ve got a new dish up your sleeve when hunger calls.

Here’s, the owners of this cute JLT spot show you how it’s done.

Classic som tum (papaya salad)

Serves one (or two shared as a starter)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes


• 3 cloves garlic, peeled
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1 red bird’s eye chilli (your choice)
• 1 tbsp fish sauce
• 2 quartered lime wedges
• 1 heaped tbsp peanuts
• 40g long green beans
• 100g tomato quarters
• 100g grated green papaya
• 20g grated carrot

Equipment: If you don’t own a ‘krok’, you can use a large pestle and mortar, or a wooden bowl and a rolling pin.


• Put the garlic, chilli and sugar in the bowl and pummel it hard for 10-15 seconds

• Add the fish sauce, lime wedge and peanuts and pummel again, but this time not so heavy-handed

• Add tomato, papaya and long beans and pummel lightly once, and turn the salad over with the spoon to make sure it’s all mixed well. Repeat this ‘pummel and mix’ two times more

• Scoop it out onto a plate, take a photo and post to Insta making sure you tag @cafeisan

• Eat it!

• At this point should you find your face contorting or you start sweating because you added too much chilli – give us all a laugh and capture the moment, tagging us @cafeisan on Insta!

Rather order in from Café Isan? Click here to place an order directly through the restaurant’s website.

For more recipes from Dubai’s best restaurants, click here.

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